PhD Reading List for Philologists (for students entering in 2024 and later)

The following list of authors and works is intended as a guide for preparation for the comprehensive exams in Greek and Latin literature. Students may make substitutions to accommodate their own interests and previous reading, but the list provides an indication of the range of literature that all philologists should have worked through before taking the comprehensive exams. All substitutions must be approved in advance by the selected examiners.

The purpose of the comprehensive exams in Greek and Latin literature is to determine whether you control sufficient detail and breadth to be granted, upon satisfactory completion of a dissertation, a PhD in Philology. You will be asked to demonstrate knowledge such as other persons holding the PhD in Philology typically have, and you will be asked to synthesize and explain important literary and cultural concepts. For more information, you should consult the graduate advisor in Philology and Ancient History.

You will do some of the readings in the context of courses, but you are expected to complete the remainder of the readings independently starting from the very beginning of your graduate career. The summers provide crucial blocks of time when you are expected to be working through the reading list either on your own or by forming a reading group.

Your preparation for the comprehensive exams should also include reading general handbooks on Greek and Latin literature, such as the Cambridge History of Classical Literature (2 vols.) and G.B. Conte, Latin Literature (1994). You should also acquaint yourself with secondary literature for each of the authors and works you read in consultation with faculty and your examiners. Throughout your readings, you should practice explicating these texts within their historical/cultural contexts and comparing them to other works written in the same or related literary genres.

It is expected that the readings will be prepared from the standard OCT or Teubner texts as available and that you use suitable commentaries as needed. Please consult with your professors if you have questions about selecting an edition or commentary.

I. Greek Readings in the original.

A. Archaic Period

Homer: Iliad 1, 3, 6, 9, 16–24; Odyssey 1, 5–12, 21–23; Hymns, one of the following: 2–5

Hesiod: Works and Days 1–382; Theogony 1–885

Lyric poetry: Selections in Campbell

Presocratics: Selections in Kirk, Raven, Schofield for Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles

Aeschylus: Oresteia

Pindar: Ol. 1, 2; Pyth. 1, 2, 4

B. Classical Period

Gorgias: Helen

Antiphon: First Tetralogy

Sophocles: AjaxOedipus TyrannusAntigone 

Euripides: MedeaHelenBacchae 

Herodotus: Books 1 and 7

Aristophanes: AcharniansCloudsFrogs 

Thucydides: 1.1–23, 2.35–46, and book 7

Plato: ApologyRepublic 7 and 10; Phaedrus 

Hippocratic corpus: Airs, Waters, and Places 

Lysias: 1 and 12

Isocrates: Helen

Xenophon: Memorabilia 1 and 2.1

Demosthenes: On the CrownOlynthiac 1

Aristotle: PoeticsNicomachean Ethics 1 or Politics 1

Menander: Dyscolus

C. Hellenistic and Imperial Period Theocritus: 1–7, 15, 22

Apollonius: Argonautica 3

Callimachus: Aetia Fr. 1; Hymns 5

Epigram: Selections in Hopkinson

Plutarch: Life of PericlesHow to Study Poetry

Lucian: True History

Longus: Daphnis and Chloe 1 and 2

II. Additional Greek works to be read either in translation or in the original

Homer: all. Homeric Hymns: all. Hesiod: Works and DaysTheogony (entire). Aeschylus: all. Sophocles: all. Herodotus: all. Euripides: all. Thucydides: all. Aristophanes: all. Plato: Republic (entire); Xenophon: Memorabilia (entire); Longus: Daphnis and Chloe (entire)

III. Latin Readings

A. Early Latin

Livius Andronicus and Naevius: Maltby and Slater

Ennius: Annales and Tragedies Goldberg and Manuwald

Plautus: Amphitruo and Pseudolus

Terence: Hecyra and Eunuchus

Early Latin Prose: Courtney

B. Republican Latin

Lucretius: De rerum natura 1 and 3

Catullus: Carmina omnia

Caesar: Bellum civile 1 and Bellum Gallicum 1

Cicero: Speeches: In Catilinam 1; pro CaelioPhilippic 2. Letters: Selection of D. R. Shackleton Bailey. RhetoricaDe Oratore 1, BrutusOrator. Philosophica: Somnium Scipionis; De natura deorum 1; De officiis 1.

Sallust: Catiline or Jugurtha

Vergil: BucolicsGeorgics 1 and 4; Aeneid 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12

Horace: Sermones 1.1, 1.4, 1.9, 1.10, 2.1; CarminaEpistulae 1; Ars poetica

Livy: Ab urbe condita 1 and 21

Propertius: Monobiblos

Ovid: Amores 1; Metamorphoses 1, 8, 15; Heroides 7; Ars Amatoria 1, Fasti 1, Tristia 2


Tibullus: Book 1

C. Imperial Latin

Augustus: Res gestae

Lucan: Pharsalia 1

Petronius: 26–78 (Cena Trimalchionis); and 85–87, 111–112 (Milesian tales)

Seneca: ThyestesLetters, Selection in Summers or Edwards; Apocolocyntosis 

Quintilian: Institutio 10.1

Martial: Epigrams, Selection in Watson

Pliny, Younger: Letters, Selection in Sherwin–White, Fifty Letters of Pliny 

Statius: Thebaid 1 and 12

Suetonius: Life of Augustus

Tacitus: Annales 1, 4, 6; Historiae 1; Dialogus

Juvenal: Satirae 1, 3, 4, 7, 10

Apuleius: Metamorphoses 1.1–20 and 4.28–6.24 (Cupid and Psyche)

IV. Additional Latin works to be read either in translation or in the original

Lucretius: entire. Cicero: De oratore entire; Republic entire; De natura deorum entire; De officiis entire. Sallust: Historiae. Livy: 1–5 entire. Ovid: Metamorphoses entire; Fasti entire; Vergil: all; Propertius: all. Lucan: all. Petronius: all. Tacitus: all. Apuleius: Metamorphoses entire.